Thursday, January 29, 2009

First Memories

My sister's first memory is coming to see me at the hospital when I was born. I can only hope that my sweet boy, seen here kissing his baby sister back in December, made a memory equally as powerful last night.

Baby Kayla has arrived! Mom and baby girl are both doing well. Kayla arrived after only two mighty pushes. Of course, labor technically started last Saturday, so.... After taking four days to get to 10 cm, I'm pretty sure K was all, "GET! (push) OUT! (push)" And now she's here! Hooray!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Deleting the AWESOMENESS

Gwen made me take the post that was here earlier today because she's all good and nice. If you missed it, and you want to read my smackdown of the weirdo that made my life so very, very miserable in 7th grade, email me.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Here's the thing.

So I'm having a little trouble talking about my experience covering the presidential inauguration. Was it life-changing? Amazing? Awesome and once-and-a-lifetime-y? Yes. "Inspiring and I Have a A Dream"-y? Oh, yes. Was it also freezing, crowded to the point of scariness and more than a little frustrating? Well, also yes.

Do I feel kind of uncharitable for not loving every single precious, precious second of historical importance and opportunity? Um, a bit. The energy of the crowd was upbeat, kind, and relatively positive. Friendships were bustin' out all over as people shared hand warmers, blankets and personal space.

I'm also a little hesitant to show you what I did, because, um, certain arrangements that had been carefully crafted since last October didn't exactly pan out as promised. Not only that, people with tickets and the Big Dawg credentials got blocked at security. While I had a journalism miracle in finding one of the local kids I was following in that immense crowd, this was a situation where when life hands you lemons, you don't make lemonade. You hurl them back as hard as you can.

In the end, the work that I did got splashed on the front page in one edition of my paper with a jump into local section. It lead the local section in another edition. USA Today picked up one of my photos up off the GNS news wire, and the Honolulu newspapers ran several photos from the opening ceremonies, one is online. My video clips lead our afternoon webcast, and the video is getting a lot views online.

I got H.W.'s motorcade, an ambulance leaving the Capitol building minutes after this happened, President Jimmy Carter, Jill Biden, and the Obamas behind tinted, bullet-proof glass. He didn't get out of the car during the parade until he was past the point of no return for mere mortals.

You can see all of my photos here.

And as I said before, my inauguration outfit wasn't out of place or even remotely alarming to the Secret Service. See?

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Much to tell...

In short,

1. The things I was worried about- Depends, ninja face mask- were the least of my worries. (I didn't drink anything; no problems there.) Almost all of the security officials- customs agents, DC police, snipers- were all wearing them, as were many photographers and anyone who probably owns a motorcycle. If anything, being dressed that way made People Who Mattered's eyes skip right over me.

2. I achieved all of the goals I set for myself, including getting a shot of The Man himself. Granted, he's behind the tinted, bullet-proof windows of the presidential limo, but it's him and he's not on JumboTron, and besides, AP ran an almost identical photo.

3.) Shannon was seriously being tongue-in-cheek about her daughters (DAUGHTERS! PLURAL!) putting me off kids. Once I had transmitted everything- including 70+ photos, a live teaser clip for the web and a full video package- I had about three hours to play with the nieces-of-my-heart.

I played like Christmas morning whipped together with Disneyland and 6 Flags. I read Shel Silverstein poems to Gaby while she was in the tub, gave Sack of Potato rides into bed, spent plenty of time Liking To Shout, and administered three Serious Words. Katie had lots of pictures taken, a plot summary of the first three seasons of Lost while trying to burp, and one round of Oklahoma Baby Chicken Hat. Birth control? Hardly. I wanted to steal them. :)

Friday, January 16, 2009

My Inauguration Outfit

I have on three layers of high tech Eastern Mountain Sports shirts: subzero-temperature wicking base, turtleneck and fleece vest, long underwear, pantyhose, fleece wrist covers, Joel's motorcycle gloves, 8 digital cards, two fully charged batteries, 8 AA batteries, a flask, a wide angle lens, cash, two cell phones, a metro map, three granola bars, and eventually there will be a 100-400 mm lens on the camera body. And that spiralled black and white thing around my arm is a tripod. I've stocked up on hand warming packs and toe-warming packs.

14 hours on my feet. Three days in a row. 5,000 porta-potties for 2.5 million people. Should I buy adult diapers? Twice now I've stood in front of the Depends display, seriously considering it. Seriously.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Well, shit.

So I'm feeling pretty daunted right now. There's so much I can't write about here. You probably don't want to be around me anyway. My sentences trail off and I get all distracted. For now, I'm going to republish some of my favorite entries from the now defunct Untangling Photography. Yeah. I know.

Pretend it's December 13th, would you? Then read on.

Me: Pssst... come here.   
You: Why are you whispering?
Me: Because I want to tell you about a surprise party for my dad.
You: What?

Okay, I'll talk louder. 

So at the moment I'm driving to my hometown in Pennsylvania (actually Joel is driving while I type) with a projector, a big-ass screen, my camera and a couple bags of Christmas presents. Tomorrow is my dad's 60th birthday party. He thinks we're going to a fancypants award ceremony for my mom tonight, but in reality, it's a surprise party for him. There will be about 100 guests there, from his childhood pals, to the best man at my parents' wedding, to our family and his present colleagues and friends.

My present for my dad is a 13-minute birthday tribute featuring photographs, film clips, songs and soundbytes from his loved ones. It's taken me about two months to pull it all together, but honestly, working on it has been a privilege. Yes, he's awesome and beloved and a great dad and husband who is worthy of the tribute because he's devoted and kind and aw! daddy's-little-girl-cakes! BUT!

The greatest privilege has been sorting through the photographs and home movies that go into the compilation, and thinking about all the people in my family who made this possible. I'm thinking of all the photographers and videographers over the years who picked up the camera, DECADES before I was born, at my dad's baptism, his First Communion, his wedding.

The project opens with footage of my Nanny and Pop Pop holding my dad, tickling his lip in a goo goo gaga kinda of way. Based on the fact that my grandmother is in her "fancy coat" and my dad is dressed in white, it was most likely shot at his baptism. Since both my grandparents are in the film, and my Pop Pop's sister Mary is edging her way into the frame, I'm guessing it was shot by my great-Uncle Ray, a boisterous soul who was famous in family tales for the time he was detained at the U.S. - Canadian border for shouting "WHO WANTS TO KNOW?!?!" to every routine question the customs official asked.

Oh, but the scene of my grandparents kissing? My Nanny is the same age there that I am now which BLOWS my MIND.

There's my father's first communion. The 1950s dresses on the little girls are FANTASTIC and the nuns' habits are hilarious, but what I love is the serious way my dad walks down the church steps at the age of seven, holding his hands in a gesture that's so familiar to me, not just because he walks in a similar way down the very same steps with his bride (my mom) on their wedding day, two decades and (and two Life Tribute montages) later.

It's thanks to My Great Uncle Sam that we have that precious footage, even though he's most famous in family lore for the fact that he didn't put any film in the video camera after the ceremony. He walked around "filming" the entire reception without film. Whenever someone tells the story of my parents' wedding day, they always say "And Sam forgot to put film in the video camera!" (Well, that, and my mom will tell you she loved the sugar-encrusted fruit cup.) Uncle Sam died three years before I was born, but it's thanks to him that we have the precious footage of them leaving the church, my mom's veil blowing in the breeze.

And my mom! She's seemingly "missing" in most of the photos from my childhood. It wasn't until I was in my final year of majoring in photography when I myself started to go missing in family photos that I figured out where she was- behind the camera. 

LISTEN TO ME, mother/readers who take tons of photos of your kids but shy away from the camera yourselves. Put it down, hand it to your partners, stick it on a tripod, but get INTO a few of those shots. You are NOT fat. You will never look more fabulously young and beautiful to the Future Adult versions of your children who will enjoy them.

My husband keeps joking that the theme of the slideshow is "Cry, bitches, cry," because I suspect there will be a few tears shed this evening as we watch it. (He is concerned that this makes him sound like a bastard and wants me to clarify that he means "cry, bitches, cry" in the nicest way possible. Truly. 

On a serious note, I honestly believe that the real mark of accomplished photography and multimedia work is the ability to elicit genuine emotion from the viewers. If you can say to them, "You know, this is you. This is your family. Look at happy you look, how beautiful you are. You've really been seen, and heard, and captured in a way that reflects the real you, and it's been my honor to do it."

You want to watch it now, don't you? You get to see photos of me from the '80s with a crazy spiral perm and crispy bangs, you realize that, right? Well, okay. but you can't say I didn't warn you. On the other hand, the best man at my parents' wedding (also my godfather) had crazy mutton chops in 1970s. He'll be there tonight, as will Cousin Butchie, the husky kid who "helps" my 4-year-old dad blow out his birthday candles. Hee hee ho ho. At least there will be an open bar.

Sixty Years Young from Angela Gaul on Vimeo.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Our Wedding Video!

I'm so excited to show you guys the short highlights video our fabulous videographer Melissa Costantino put together for me and Joel. It lasts less than five minutes, but it really captures the way we felt on August 9th. Love it!

Angie & Joel Love Recap from Melissa Costantino on Vimeo.

Thanks for stickin' around, readers. I'll be coming out of hibernation with more frequent posts soon. :)

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

The pod people have released my brain!

Wow. Tonight it took me a solid five minutes to remember the line of wedding gowns that my dress ultimately came from. I could not, for the life of me, remember the words "Lee-Ann Belter." I had to do two google searches until I came up with it. I can't believe forgot that.

You know what this means, right? I'm free!

I enjoyed the wedding planning process, but man, I spent months developing fully formed opinions about reception tents, illuminated paper lanterns, cocktail napkins, hand-fasting cords, fan-shaped programs and do-it-yourself invitation designs. No regrets, but the pod people who came and took over my brain when I got engaged have officially released their hold. Ah, well.

EDITED TO ADD: Well, maybe not. The song Joel danced with his mom to just came on the radio. The bagpipe-y interlude made me weepy.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Wanna buy some art?

Ninety-two pictures to hang on the wall/
Ninety-two pictures to haaaang/
Take one down, pass it around,
Ninety-two pictures to hang on the wall!

Wanna buy some art? Joel and I are now selling our nature photography prints on etsy! Now, you too can own some of the prints you've seen here. Like this!

And this!

And some you haven't seen... like these!

I was swamped with making Christmas presents and fulfilling holiday orders this season, so this was my birthday present to Joel. We weren't open in time for the holiday gift-giving season, but perhaps you've resolved to buy more art in 2009?

Please check out our etsy shop. :)

Thursday, January 01, 2009

A New Year's Day Meme

1. What did you do in 2008 that you'd never done before?
Got married. Went cable-skiing. Did an live broadcast from the field. Got really close to exotic wild animals and photograph them with their young.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Shannon. I cannot wait to meet the new munchkin.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
No, thank goodness.

5. What countries did you visit?

Australia. Honeymoon, baby!

6. What would you like to have in 2009 that you lacked in 2008?
More job security- HA! A new camera body and laptop if I need to be my own boss. A down payment for a house. Or a townhouse. Or a treehouse, even, as long as it has a dishwasher.

7. What dates from 2008 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
08.09.08, wedding day. Nov. 4, 2008- the night America elected Barack Obama.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Helping Alissa with graphic design, photography, slideshow and videography. Pulling off all the do-it-yourself projects for our wedding, while staying strong enough at work to win a significant photo award the day before we got hitched.

9. What was your biggest failure?
Not getting to photograph the Pope after all.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Nope. Unless you count getting punched in the face by a camel, which I do not.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
I can't think of a specific object or purchase, but I can say that EVERY wedding vendor we worked with was worth every penny. All the key players came through for us. It was amazing.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
The American voters.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Ugh. George W. Bush. John McCain and Sarah Palin's nasty, fear-mongering campaign. Bernie Madoff. Yes on Prop 8 voters. The newspaper industry's cannabilism.

14. Where did most of your money go?
Gas for my car. Holy $4.27 a gallon, Batman!

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Launching Untangling Photography.

16. What song will always remind you of 2008?
"Fly" by Sara Groves.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder? happier
b) thinner or fatter? fatter
c) richer or poorer? richer

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?

Developing closer friendships in New York. Spending time with the co-worker friends who've left the newspaper.

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?
Losing my temper and getting all stressed out when I'm trying to be a good daughter and hostess. Working without a break.

20. How will you be spending Christmas?
Worked, played Guitar Hero and watched "It's a Wonderful Life" with Joel on Christmas Eve. On Christmas morning, I worked, then cleaned, set the table, made latkes and pie and ate a lot of ham. Then I worked some more.

23. What was your favorite TV program?
Ooh, Intervention. I can't turn away. Intervention, my addiction to you has affected my life negatively in the following ways...

25. What was the best book you read?
"When You Are Engulfed in Flames" by David Sedaris.

26. What was your greatest musical discovery?
You know, I didn't really have one.

27. What did you want and get?
A Kitchen-Aid mixer! Yay! A FUN bridal shower that was enjoyable for me and my guests. Mission accomplished.

28. What did you want and not get?
Hmmm... I'm pretty content. I'm trying to save up for a new laptop and camera body, but that desire has only kicked in full force since the layoffs on December 2nd. So that doesn't really count.

29. What was your favorite film of this year?
Ghost Town is the first one that comes to mind, so... that says something if it stands out of the clutter, no?

30. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 29 and went out to dinner at Legal Seafood, where my mother-in-law gave me an Ove Glove has a present.

31. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
I wish I didn't feel an impending sense of doom about the year ahead. The economy hasn't hit rock-bottom yet.

32. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2008?
Some of the funkier, ruffly, feminine offerings at the Gap.

33. What kept you sane?
Bella. My mom. The fact that Joel trusts that there's a "method to my madness" and really has faith in my judgment. An amazing circle of womenfolk from every era and aspect of my life who stepped up to make Joel's and my wedding run smoothly and beautifully.

34. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Rachel Maddow is my girlfriend.

38. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2008.
If solutions to life/society's problems were easy, someone would have thought of them already.

39. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

"There's no combination of words
I could put on the back of a postcard.
No song that I could sing
But I can try for your heart.
Our dreams, and they are made out of real things
like a shoebox of photographs
with sepia-toned loving.

Love is the answer at least
for most of the questions in my heart, like
Why are we here? And where do we go?
And how come it's so hard?
It's not always easy and
sometimes life can be deceiving.
I'll tell you one thing,
it's always better when we're together."
-Jack Johnson, "Better Together"